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Witbreuk – “It isn’t easy to beat us”

FG caught up with Dutch striker Wessel Witbreuk to talk about Glacis’ season so far, finishing in the top six and more.

Witbreuk reflected on Glacis’ season so far, “We have a talented group of players but restrictions due to Covid has made it difficult for us to show it on the pitch. We weren’t able to train as a full squad which effected us on the pitch, especially tactically. I think we have done alright this season and we’ve made it difficult for teams to beat us. We need to be more consistent so we can get more points.

We asked Wessel how he has found life in Gibraltar, “We have really enjoyed being in Gibraltar. It is special to see when you cross the border it is a completely different life. Everyone is very friendly and has made me feel very welcome in our first season in Gibraltar.

Glacis currently sit in seventh with their final game of the round against Lincoln Red Imps. We asked Wessel if he feels Glacis’ can finish in the top six – “If the league splits into two then it will be really difficult for us as we only have one game to play. Lincoln will be a hard game but we showed against Europa that it won’t be easy to beat us. We have shown a lot of improvements during the last nine matches and will be trying our best to get a result against Lincoln.

Lastly, the 22-year old told us about his aspirations for the season – “I hope we can continue to improve as we have in previous matches and become more consistent. It would be nice to qualify for the top six but we have a chance in the Rock Cup to show our qualities.”

Witbreuk added, “My personals goals are to help the team with goals, assists and hard work. I want to continue improving in training and matches so I am ready for the next step in my career.

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Bosio: “We have proved to be a tough opponent on many occasions”

FG caught up with Lions captain Jamie Bosio to discuss his sides season far, including their impressive defensive record, and more.

Photo (C) Daniel Ferro

Lions currently sit sixth in the table, and are pushing to stay there come the split – how does Bosio rate his side’s season so far? “I believe we have been quite the underdog this season and we have proved to be a tough opponent on many occasions. We have competed with almost every team we’ve faced and I am extremely pleased with the shift the boys have put it every game so far.”

Only Europa and St Joseph’s have conceded fewer goals than Lions, with the team yet to concede a goal to a side below them in the table this season – Bosio, who takes the captaincy at Lions after the departure of Alberto Caravaca, talks highly of the backline he is a key part of: “We have certainly been solid at the back with a good understanding of what the gaffer wants us to do and the keeper has been exceptional for us too. We still have some tough tests ahead of us so we need to ensure we remain solid at the back and try to be clinical when we get those opportunities up front.”

The 29-year-old made his way into the national side for the recent internationals, being part of the squad which secured Nations League promotion – how did that feel? “From the call-up to the squad to securing promotion as group winners has just been a surreal experience. History was made and I am extremely proud to form part of this group of lads who have worked tirelessly to achieve this. There was always belief in the dressing room that it was possible to achieve this and the lads simply delivered.”

Finally, we asked Bosio what his goals were in 2021? “With football being suspended for obvious reasons I am working extremely hard off the pitch, pushing myself every day to maintain and improve my fitness levels overall. I am aiming to secure a spot within the top 6 in the domestic league as well as being called up to represent Gibraltar again for the Euro Qualifiers … and maybe even getting into that starting XI!”

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El Andaloussi: “I have had a really good season so far”

FG caught up with Naoufal El Andaloussi to talk about Mons Calpe, Futsal and more.

Naoufal reflected on his season so far with Mons Calpe currently sitting fifth in the league, “I have had a really good season so far, getting a lot of game time. Unfortunately, we are living in challenging times, I just hope this will end soon, and I can’t wait to get back on the pitch. We have to maintain positive and keep focused till the time is right.

Mons’ current head coach Cesar Vegas took over in the summer from Luis Manuel Blanco, we asked Naoufal how he has found life under the Uruyguan – “I have been playing under César Vega for nearly a year now. He is very supportive, focused and loves the game.

After a successful trip to Northern Ireland with the Gibraltar Futsal National Team last year, we asked Naoufal how he feels Futsal has progressed over the years – “That winning feeling is great for a nation like us. I can say we have been working hard collectively with such a young squad and we will achieve more success in the future.

Naoufal told us about his objectives for the season, “My aim is clear this year, I hope we can secure our 4th spot to get to compete in Europe. Every game is a final, we have to maintain focused and keep working hard in our final 3 games of the round.

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Hernandez: “Parody has made a very good group both on and off the field”

FG caught up with Lynx’s Dylan Hernandez to talk about his sides season far, targeting European qualification this season and more.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Hernandez signed in the summer and has been one of Lynx’s key players – how does the attacker see the club’s season having gone so far? “The Lynx season this year for me has been very good, we have good dynamics and have won matches, including against Lincoln, and Albert Parody has made a very good group both on and off the field, and that is reflected when playing.”

With four European spots on offer this season after the creation of the Europa Conference League, Lynx are among the teams looking to qualify for Europe for the first time in their footballing history (their futsal team being regulars in Europe already) – is Europe the objective for the 24-year-old? “Totally, it is to compete for Europe this year, I think we have a team to qualify and that is the main objective.”

Two Hernandez’ have caught the eye for Lynx this season, with both Dylan, and Aritz Hernandez proving key for the club, so we asked about the partnership the pair have struck up, and how important Aritz has been in Dylan’s view for the club this season: “It’s normal of teammates and more being forwards both, as for the importance that he has in the team, I do not know what to answer for me, he is a teammate, all are important because without the others he would not score goals.”

Finally, we asked Hernandez what his goals were as a footballer in 2021: “My goal is to grow as much as possible and fulfill my dreams of being a professional footballer.”

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Victoria Stadium confirmed to host Gibraltar’s home World Cup Qualifiers

The Gibraltar FA have today confirmed that UEFA have granted dispensation for Gibraltar to host their 2022 World Cup Qualifying home matches at the Victoria Stadium.

Photo (C) Black & Burst

The construction of a new national stadium, which was planned to start in 2020, was delayed understandably due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the current Victoria Stadium falling short of UEFA’s minimum requirements to host official international matches, the GFA had to apply to UEFA to extend their exemption which allowed Gib to host the Nations League in 2020, to cover the upcoming home World Cup Qualifiers.

In a statement, the GFA say: “The Gibraltar FA is very pleased to confirm that UEFA has approved it’s request to play the upcoming FIFA 2022
World Cup Qualifying Home matches at the Victoria Stadium.
In this regard, UEFA had previously confirmed to the Gibraltar FA that it would not grant any further exemptions after the UEFA Nations League 2020, to use the Victoria Stadium as a home venue for its International Matches, due to the Stadium falling short of UEFA’s minimum criteria for official international competition.
In any case, the Gibraltar FA had originally intended (pre COVID-19) to commence construction of the New National Stadium in the 3rd quarter of 2020, rendering the Victoria Stadium unavailable for at least 18-24 months.
For obvious reasons, the pandemic has delayed this original timeline, and therefore, the Victoria Stadium became available.
This delay prompted a senior Gibraltar FA delegation to make written and oral representations to UEFA in early December 2020, asking for further dispensation to allow Victoria Stadium to be used once again. After lengthy
discussions, UEFA have granted the request, on certain conditions similar to those imposed for the 2020 Euro Qualifiers.
One of the conditions is that the Victoria Stadium be used for all home matches, meaning that the construction of the New Stadium cannot commence until after the final scheduled World Cup Qualifying fixture on 16th November.Therefore the Gibraltar FA is now working towards this date, and will provide more information in the near future.
The other conditions relate to several upgrades which need to be made to the current Victoria Stadium. As such, the Gibraltar FA will shortly commence works onsite in order to meet UEFA’s conditions with ample time before its first World Cup Qualifying home match in March 2021.”

Speaking to the GFA, General Secretary Ivan Robba commented: “This is great news for the Gibraltar FA and for Gibraltar as a whole. We have been working hard with UEFA to get this exemption, as we strongly believe that this was the most sensible way forward given the difficulties that COVID19 is causing everywhere. The idea of having to play our Home matches in another country was very worrying for us, so we are extremely grateful to UEFA for understanding us and facilitating matters for us.
This now means that, COVID permitting, Gibraltar will again play world class international teams in the most prestigious international competitions on home soil. In this regard, we are very conscious of the pandemic and the
current restrictions imposed in Gibraltar as a result, so we are working and will continue to work closely with all relevant authorities to ensure that all measures are complied with accordingly.

Though it is too soon to tell, we sincerely hope, especially with the recently implemented vaccination program, that Gibraltar will be in a position to allow spectators into the Victoria Stadium to witness and experience such matches, as playing the UEFA Nations League without our supporters did not feel right at all.”

Gibraltar kick off their World Cup Qualifying campaign by hosting both Norway and the Netherlands in March 2021 – full fixtures can be found here.

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Clinton: “Being around players with that much experience really helps me”

FG caught up with Kyle Clinton to talk about making his senior debut at 16, Lincoln’s season so far and more.

Kyle made his debut in early December, coming on as a second-half substitute in Lincoln’s 6-1 win over Europa Point. The youngster reflected on this achievement, “Making my senior debut at 16 is a very proud moment for me personally and it is testament to my hard work this season.”

Lincoln currently find themselves in third place after eight games, Clinton reflected on their league campaign so far – “At the moment, we are sitting in 3rd place and 1st place is still in reach. There is plenty of work still to be done and we need to keep working hard.”

Being able to work alongside players like Roy Chipolina, Lee Casciaro and Scott Wiseman is a dream for any 16-year old and one which Kyle Clinton gets to do nearly every day. We asked Kyle how being surrounded by those players has helped him, “Being around players with that much experience really helps me as a player. They offer so much, for example, guidance on the pitch particularly from Scott who is very encouraging and it gives me a confidence boost.”

Lastly, we asked Kyle what he hopes to achieve this season – “Individually, I am hoping to improve and mature as a player. As a team, I am hoping to win the league, qualify for the Champions League and restore Lincoln’s former glory.”

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Jolley: “We’ve remained focused and will continue to do so”

FG caught up with Europa and Gibraltar defender Ethan Jolley to discuss his side’s season so far, being part of a makeshift Europa defence this season and more.

Photo (C) David Roberts

Europa are currently second in the table, behind St Joseph’s only on goal difference with the two sides yet to meet – how has the defender rated his sides season so far? “I think this season has been good so far, things have been a little different this year due to the virus & the effects it’s had on the competition. Nevertheless we’ve remained focused and will continue to do so to make sure we are ready when the league eventually resumes.”

Injuries to key defenders, such as Olmo, Sergio Sanchez and Ibrahim Ayew, means that Jolley has often been involved in makeshift defensive backlines, normally including two, or at times even three midfielders in them – the likes of Mikey Yome and David Polaco among those to fill in – how does the 23-year-old feel they have done? “Injuries will always be a part of football and this year we have had a few. The midfielders who have helped out in defence in my opinion have done just as well as any other defender. When you have good players in your squad which can adapt playing at different positions it makes it much easier to cope with injuries.”

Jolley was part of Gibraltar’s promotion-winning Nations League side, featuring in both games against Liechtenstein – how did it feel when Gib secured top spot and promotion to League C? “It’s hard to put into words how we all felt after achieving what we achieved. Even now almost 2 months later it still hasn’t completely sank in. Its a massive achievement winning an international group and being a part of it is an honour and proud to say the least.”

Finally, we asked the Europa defender what his goals were as a player: “My goals are always to do better than what i have done in previous years. I have always wanted to play abroad to learn more about football and at an international level you get a glimpse of that. All in all the goal is to train harder and stronger and from there see what the future holds.”

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Mouelhi: “We are getting better game by game”

FG caught up with Aymen Mouelhi to get his thoughts on St Joseph’s season so far and more.

Mouelhi reflected St Joseph’s season so far, “I think we are getting better game by game but we could do much better and we need to confirm that in the next two games.

Nano, Juanfri and Boro have been an important part in St Joseph’s season with the three combining with 27 goals this season – we asked Aymen how important it will be keeping them three fit ahead of ties against Europa & Lincoln, “The three off them are top players and true professionals. They are very motivated for these 2 important games and have been working very hard in training.

Aymen played an integral part in Gibraltar’s Nations League triumphant campaign playing in all three games, we asked the 34-year old how it felt to winning League D – “It’s an amazing feeling to win the League D in the Nations League, mixed with proudness and happiness. Our hard work paid off and that’s what we have been doing throughout the tournament. We make all of Gibraltar proud of this achievement.”

St Joseph’s are seen by many as strong title contenders this season after a dominant start, we asked Aymen if he feels this could be St Joseph’s year to win the league – “We are taking the league game by game and there’s a long way go. There’s no favourite as all matches are difficult and we are going to do our best to achieve our objectives.

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All football activity suspended until further notice

After the recent announcement that Gibraltar was to be placed in a National Lockdown, the Gibraltar FA confirmed today that all football activity is to be suspended until further notice.

Photo (C) William Gracia

The National League, Intermediate League, Women’s League and Futsal were meant to continue or commence in 2021, but after last weekend’s announcement of a National Lockdown being implemented in Gibraltar, local football has inevitably and understandably been halted.

In a statement, the Gibraltar FA say: “Following Public Health Health Guidelines and in line with the restrictions in place across Gibraltar as a result of the recently announced National Lockdown, the Gibraltar FA confirms that all football activity is currently suspended until further notice.

As such, the Gibraltar National League will not restart on the 12th January 2021 as originally scheduled, and unfortunately the Women’s League will also be unable to restart. 

The Gibraltar FA will continue working very closely with Public Heath Gibraltar, and the GSLA, to ensure that football can return as soon as it is safe to do so.

In the meantime, the Association echoes the message of the Chief Minister of Gibraltar and Public Health, to stay at home as much as possible, and adhere to all advice in order to help stop this wave of Coronavirus spreading throughout our community, and support all our authorities and front line workers working tirelessly day in day out to keep us safe.”

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FG Team of the Week: Matchday 9

Matchday 9 results

  • College 1975 1-3 Europa Point (Gallardo; Serralvo x2, Torrilla)
  • Brunos Magpies 0-3 St Joseph’s (Nano, OG, Juanfri)
  • Europa 1-0 Glacis United (Borge)
  • Lincoln Red Imps 2-0 Manchester 62 (Wiseman, Yahaya)
  • Mons Calpe 0-0 Lions Gibraltar

Team

  1. Marcos Zappacosta (Glacis)
  2. Scott Wiseman (Lincoln)
  3. Daniel Sanchez (Manchester 62)
  4. Federico Villar (St Joseph’s)
  5. Shea Breakspear (Lions)
  6. Kevagn Ronco (Mons Calpe)
  7. Graeme Torrilla (Lincoln)
  8. Mariano ‘Nano’ Gonzalez Maroto (St Joseph’s)
  9. Wessel Witbreuk (Glacis)
  10. Dylan Borge (Europa)
  11. Alejandro Serralvo Gomez (Europa Point)